Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Mt James TurnerNeal Carter (14 Dec 1902 - 15 Mar 1978) was an early explorer of the Coast Mountains around what would eventually be called Whistler Valley.  In the summer of 1923 he and UBC classmate Charles Townsend set off from Rainbow Lodge and climbed the previously unclimbed Wedge Mountain.  From the summit of Wedge they spotted an impressive mountain to the north in the midst of a maze of glaciers.  They named it Mount James Turner and managed its first ascent as well. 

Whistler & Garibaldi Hiking

Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerAlexander Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyAncient Cedars  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerBlack Tusk  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerBlackcomb Mountain  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerBrandywine Falls  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrandywine Meadows  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrew Lake  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerCallaghan Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerCheakamus Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyCheakamus River  Whistler Hiking Trail HardCirque Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyFlank Trail  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Park  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerHelm Creek  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyJane Lakes  Joffre Lakes Hike in Whistler in SeptemberJoffre Lakes  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyKeyhole Hot Springs  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyLogger’s Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyMadeley Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMeager Hot Springs Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerNairn Falls  Whistler Hiking Trail HardNewt Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerPanorama Ridge  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyRainbow Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRainbow Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyRing Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRusset Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasySea to Sky Trail  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSkookumchuck Hot Springs  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSloquet Hot Springs  Sproatt East  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerSproatt West  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

  Winter Hiking WhistlerJanuary  Winter Hiking WhistlerFebruary  Spring Hiking WhistlerMarch  Spring Hiking WhistlerApril  Spring Hiking WhistlerMay  Summer Hiking WhistlerJune  Summer Hiking WhistlerJuly  Summer Hiking WhistlerAugust  Fall Hiking WhistlerSeptember  Fall Hiking WhistlerOctober  Fall Hiking WhistlerNovember  Winter Hiking WhistlerDecember

In the following days they made a foray up into Avalanche Pass (Singing Pass today) and climbed Red Mountain(The Fissile today) and across to the summit of Overlord Mountain.  The following day they named and made the first ascent of Mount Diavolo.  The first ascent of Overlord had only been made in the previous June when the Don and Phyl Munday ventured into the area on Carter’s recommendation.  The Mundy’s had also arranged to meet Carter and make an attempt on Wedge Mountain on that trip; however Carter was delayed by work and the Mundy’s made a first ascent of Blackcomb instead.  Neal Carter was a skilled cartographer, surveyor and photographer at a time when photography, particularly difficult alpine photography was rare.  Carter gave copies of the beautiful photos to his hosts at the Rainbow Lodge, and now, almost a century later, they reside in the Whistler Museum.  Charles Townsend documented the exploration and, along with Carter’s photos have ensured this interesting two weeks of early twentieth century mountaineering will be permanently remembered.  Neal Carter was born in Vancouver on December 14th 1902 he began climbing and exploring local mountains at just 14.  Three years later he was a member of the BC Mountaineering Club and making regular climbs with one of BC most prominent mountaineers, Tom Fyles.  Over the years his mountaineering passion took him around the world with climbs in Europe, Japan and New Zealand.  Though he made several notable climbs in the Rockies, his main focus lay in exploring the Coast Mountains.  His exploration contributed to the creation of the first topographical maps of Garibaldi Park, and of the Tantalus Range in the 1920's.  In the 1930's he explored peaks at the head of the Lillooet and Toba Rivers, and was a member of a team attempting a first ascent of Mt. Waddington. In the early 1940's he surveyed the Seven Sisters Range near Smithers, and was the first to climb the highest peak, Mt. Weeskinisht. He remained an active climber in the 1950's with two important first ascents: Mt. Monmouth and Mt. Gilbert.

He attended UBC and McGill Universities and earned a PhD in Organic Chemistry and later worked as a marine biologist in fisheries research.  While his contributions to climbing and surveying are not widely known, he is considered a person of significance within the broader mountaineering community.  Mount Neal in Garibaldi Park, which he also played a key part in lobbying to expand its borders to their current size, has been named for him.  Carter was made an honorary member of the Alpine Club in 1974, and for his mapping work, he was named a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.  In March, 1978 he died while swimming in Barbados, at the age of 75.

Winram, Dalgleish, Fyles and Carter

Charles Townsend's Account of the First Ascent of Wedge Mountain September 1923.

Mr. Neal Carter and I had been planning all the summer to make the first ascent of Wedge Mountain as soon as we could get away in the fall.  Accordingly, on Saturday evening September 8th, 1923 we landed with our belongings at Rainbow Lodge, our headquarters for the ensuing fortnight. The next morning, we left half our grub at the lodge, and with the rest of our belongings started out from Alta Lake.  We followed the railway for 4 miles, travelled east along logging roads, then picked our way through the trees for another half mile until we finally reached Wedge Creek.  The creek was much larger than we had expected and we were lucky in finding a log on which to cross.  On the creeks east side, the hill rises sharply for about 800 feet.  As the bush was thick, we were very glad to have a rest when we reached the top.

From there on the ridge is a series of thickly wooded bluffs.  It was along this ridge that we caught our first glimpse of Wedge Mountain since the valley floor.  Continuing upwards at about 5,000 feet elevation the trees began thinning out and giving place to open meadows.  We were nearly all in when we finally found water near 6pm, at the extreme limits of the timberline and we made camp as quickly as possible.  We were now in an ideal place for an attempt on Wedge Mountain and settled in for the night.  Early the next morning we continued up the ridge however it soon came to an end and we found quite a gap in between us in the base of the mountain.  We had to descend this gap and cross a number of ridges composed of masses of loose rocks, probably moraines at one time and then we crossed a small glacier before we got onto the climbable slopes of Wedge Mountain.  We named this small glacier the Eclipse Glacier as shortly later we had a good view of a partial eclipse of the Sun.  From there to the peak another 2,000 vertical feet we travelled over unstable talus slopes, the rocks being on average cubes of about two feet in thickness.  The summit of the mountain is a long ridge ending in quite a sharp peak at the eastern end.  It is very precipitous on three sides.  We reach the summit at 1:15pm.

Owing to the clearness of the atmosphere we had a magnificent view and were able to secure some fine photographs. Immediately to the south of us was the Spearhead Range, which at this time remains practically unexplored.  We were most impressed by it seven fine glaciers along its north side and the range’s potential for future mountaineering excursions was immediately apparent.  To the east of us lay a peak which we resolved should be the object of our next climb.  It lay across a valley from Wedge Mountain, and promised to be an enjoyable three-day trip.  We thus returned to our previous camp and prepared for our next objective.  The next day taking with us just enough food for three days and our bedding, leaving our tent behind.  We hiked around the southern slopes of Wedge keeping just above the timberline to avoid the bush.  To obtain water we had to drop down about 800 feet into the valley where we found a delightful camping spot.   We lulled ourselves to sleep under the stars that night with soothing strains from the camp orchestra.

First Ascent of Mount James Turner

The first part of our climb the next day brought us over four high ridges to an elevation of about 7,000 feet.  From there we had a good view of Mount James Turner as Neil had named in memory of the Vancouver Reverend.  Once across the quarry glacier we had to cross the Turner Glacier much larger than the former.  We were now at the foot of the cliffs at the base of the peak.  With some trouble owing to the extreme looseness of the rocks we climbed the cliffs to the east of the peak.  From here we were ready for the final climb.  The peak itself is a mass of jagged rock most of which is very loose and dangerous and I doubt whether it could be climbed from any other direction.  An hour’s rock climbing took us to the summit arriving at 1:30pm.  Once again, we had a magnificent view.  On three sides the cliffs were very precipitous, while even the face up which we had come looked very steep from above.  Still we descended and reach camp again at about 6pm.  The next day we packed back to our first camp and the day following down to Alta Lake.  The latter journey taking six hours.  At Rainbow Lodge we had an excellent supper which partially made up for a week of dried goods."

Townsend on Wedge, Carter on James Turner

Two Fantastic Books About BC Hiking!

Scrambles in SW BCA Passion for MountainsHere are two excellent books on hiking and geology of British Columbia.  Matt Gunn's Scrambles in Southwest British Columbia includes the various routes to the summit of Wedge Mountain as well as summit routes to the neighbouring peaks, Weart, Cook, Parkhurst and Rethel.  Mount Weart is the second highest mountain in Garibaldi Park and is located just north of Wedge Mountain, separated by the Wedge-Weart Col.  Published in 2005, Scrambles in Southwest British Columbia is still the best guide in print or online.  A Passion for Mountains by Kathryn Bridge is a fascinating look at Don and Phyllis Munday's prolific exploration of the mountains in BC.  Based out of Vancouver, they were dominant figures of the climbing community in the early 1900's.  In 1923 they visited their friend Neal Carter in Alta Lake(Whistler) and explored the mountains around the valley.. many for the first time!

**We participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and earn a small commission on purchases we link through to Amazon at no extra cost to you.  We only link to books and products we love and highly recommend.  Thanks for your support!**

Hiking in Whistler in October is often unexpectedly stunning.  The days are much shorter and colder but the mountains are alive with colour from the fall ...
Read more
November in Whistler is when the temperatures plummet and the first heavy snow falls in the alpine and often in Whistler Village.  The hiking opportunities become ...
Read more
December hiking in Whistler is mainly done on snowshoes, though if it hasn't snowed for a few days, trails to Whistler Train Wreck and Rainbow Falls can ...
Read more
There are plenty of beautiful and free snowshoe trails in Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park.  From the surreal paintings of Whistler Train Wreck to ...
Read more

Rent Hiking Gear Whistler & Garibaldi Park

Whistler & Garibaldi Hiking

Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerAlexander Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyAncient Cedars  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerBlack Tusk  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerBlackcomb Mountain  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerBrandywine Falls  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrandywine Meadows  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrew Lake  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerCallaghan Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerCheakamus Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyCheakamus River  Whistler Hiking Trail HardCirque Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyFlank Trail  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Park  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerHelm Creek  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyJane Lakes  Joffre Lakes Hike in Whistler in SeptemberJoffre Lakes  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyKeyhole Hot Springs  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyLogger’s Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyMadeley Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMeager Hot Springs Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerNairn Falls  Whistler Hiking Trail HardNewt Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerPanorama Ridge  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyRainbow Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRainbow Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyRing Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRusset Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasySea to Sky Trail  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSkookumchuck Hot Springs  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSloquet Hot Springs  Sproatt East  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerSproatt West  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

  Winter Hiking WhistlerJanuary  Winter Hiking WhistlerFebruary  Spring Hiking WhistlerMarch  Spring Hiking WhistlerApril  Spring Hiking WhistlerMay  Summer Hiking WhistlerJune  Summer Hiking WhistlerJuly  Summer Hiking WhistlerAugust  Fall Hiking WhistlerSeptember  Fall Hiking WhistlerOctober  Fall Hiking WhistlerNovember  Winter Hiking WhistlerDecember

Cirque Lake is a wild and beautiful lake that hides high above and beyond Callaghan Lake in Callaghan Lake Provincial Park.  What makes Cirque Lake special among the other sensationally beautiful lakes in the ...
Read more
The alpine hiking trails on Whistler Mountain are the ultimate in luxurious, quick-access alpine hiking. Little effort gets you amazing views of turquoise lakes, snowy mountains, valleys of flowers and ...
Read more
The short, winding, and ever-changing hiking trail to Rainbow Falls is the same as the much more popular trailhead for Rainbow Lake.  The trailhead is marked as the Rainbow Trail, and the trail quickly ...
Read more
Nairn Falls is a wonderful, crashing and chaotic waterfall that surrounds you from the deluxe viewing platform that allows you to safely watch it from above.  The beautiful, green water rushes through the ...
Read more